I help my clients in eating disorders counselling to address issues including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating. As a Calgary psychologist working with clients with eating disorders, I help them address their issues by identifying triggers, changing dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs, engage in dietary education and monitoring, and learning and practicing skills to address the issues which are driving their eating disorder behaviours.
IDENTIFYING TRIGGERS FOR EATING DISORDER BEHAVIOURS
Early on in counseling I help my clients make connections between their eating disorder behaviours and the activities they are engaging in at the time. Identifying these ‘triggers’ is an important first step in addressing the eating disorder behaviours. This process reveals valuable information regarding the negative emotions and thoughts the person experiences at these times which lead them to engage in the eating disorder behaviours.
CHANGING DYSFUNCTIONAL THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS
Dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs often play a central role in eating disorders and are typically at play when eating disorder behaviours are triggered by emotions the person experiences in specific situations. Thoughts and beliefs related to low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with appearance and body image and the need to be perfect are among the cognitive themes associated with eating disorders. By working collaboratively with my clients, I help them become aware of and gather evidence to shift these dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs with tools such as thought records, behavioural experiments and core belief logs.
DIETARY EDUCATION AND MONITORING
While working with my clients to address the psychological underpinnings of their eating disorders, I help them explore the dietary and nutritional aspects of their issues through education and monitoring of their food intake. Doing so facilitates goal-setting to restore healthy eating patterns which helps my clients reduce eating disorder behaviours like binge-eating and purging. Being physically healthier as a result of these dietary improvements also gives them the energy necessary to address the psychological factors which are driving their eating disorders.
LEARNING AND PRACTICING SKILLS TO ADDRESS ISSUES DRIVING EATING DISORDER BEHAVIOURS
For long-term success in overcoming eating disorders, I help my clients learn and apply skills to address the psychological and emotional issues which are at the root of their eating disorder behaviours. Gaining confidence in using these skills to cope effectively with their issues reduces my clients’ tendency to resort to eating disorder behaviours as coping mechanisms. Skills in problem-solving, assertiveness, setting boundaries, communication, relationships, self-care and relaxation are just some of those which help my clients effectively address their issues so that their need to engage in eating disorder behaviours is lessened.